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Arabella

Near Kleinmond - Western Cape

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Hotel GM: Mike Phillipson
Golf director: Mike Munro
Greenkeeper: Derick Bolton (STM)
Club captain: Neil Brown
CRITERIA SUMMARY: Total points 79.2 out of 100
Conditioning15.8 / 20
Playability15.7 / 20
Aesthetics13.0 / 15
Design Variety11.7 / 15
Shot Values10.8 / 15
Memorability12.2 / 15

Course Summary

Four tees / Par 72

Yellow, 6222 metres, CR74.0/141
White, 5813 metres, CR71.9/140
Blue, 5406 metres, CR70.0/132
Red, 4956 metres, CR67.8/127
Women’s blue, CR76.4/140
Women’s red, CR73.2/133

Visitor green fee

Affiliated R950,
Non-affiliated R1 535
Golf cart R495

Course designer

Peter Matkovich 1999

Contact

028 284 0105
www.arabellacountryestate.co.za

Previous Ranking

10 (2021) & 9 (2020)

Arabella is one of the country’s leading golf resorts, with a golf course that has been consistently ranked in the top 10 since it opened. It occupies one of the most beautiful sites in the world, on the Bot River Lagoon, overlooking distant mountain ranges and attractive countryside. A multi-storey hotel provides residents with the finest of views from lagoon-facing rooms. The accommodation and golf blend seamlessly together. You walk out of your room and descend by lift to the clubhouse on the ground floor.

The scenic Peter Matkovich layout has evolved magnificently over the last 20 years, both as a championship test that has regularly hosted Sunshine Tour events and one that is equally enjoyable for high handicaps. With the land sloping gently down to the water, the opening holes on each nine climb away from the hotel on to level ground before gradually falling away back to the spectacular closing holes on the shore of the lagoon.

Arabella is both a resort and a golf estate, albeit with a small number of permanent residents.

Additional Course Facts

Feature Holes

The closing holes on each nine border the Bot River Lagoon. On the front nine the par-5 eighth slopes downhill to a green tucked away in the wetlands, followed by a short par 4 where a bold tee shot must carry the shoreline. From the front tee the green is in range. On the back nine the intimidating par-3 17th is alongside the water; the round finishes with a challenging par 5 that doglegs right around the edge of the lagoon to the green. The short par 4 16th hole has been remodelled in recent years, with the fairway and bunkering moved further right away from homes.

Accommodation

The five-star Arabella Hotel & Spa offers a fitness centre, award-winning spa, swimming pools, and a variety of outdoor activities. The multi-storey hotel has magnificent views over the Bot River Lagoon. The spa is home to the African Rainforest Treatment, a two-hour sensory water and steam treatment. It is part of the African Pride hotel group.

Practice Facility

A warm-up range for short/medium irons close to the clubhouse, and a short game area. Teaching lessons by Andre Loots, a young local professional from nearby Kleinmond.

Did You Know

1/ Arabella has been a constant in the Top 10 since its entry in 2002. Its highest ranking has been No 4.

2/ Arabella was originally a farm called Laughing Waters whose owner Barry Wasdale astutely saw its potential and acquired zoning rights for a golf course. The name Arabella came from its early German owners.

3/ Arabella has hosted numerous Vodacom Origins tournaments on the Sunshine Tour; the Nelson Mandela Invitational 4 times between 2003 and 2006, starring top players and celebrities; and the 2012 World Final of the Audi quattro Cup.

4/ Former British Amateur champion Garth McGimpsey, from Northern Ireland, won the 2009 club championship.

5/ Golfers generally use carts, but walkers are welcome.

Course Record

64, Alan Michell, Doug McGuigan, 2006 Coca-Cola Championship on Sunshine Tour;
Lee Westwood at NMI and Jake Roos in 2018 club medal

Club Champions

2021 Neil Brown & Keneilwe Moloko
2020 Dave Thompson & Amanda Lourens
2019 Dave Thompson & Gail Witcomb

Course and Facilities Rating
Conditioning Ratings
Greens
Bunkers
Tees
Fairways
Presentation
Overall Conditioning
Facility Ratings
Pace of Play
Practice Range
Halfway House
Pro Shop
Service
Locker Room
19th Hole
Course Etiquette
Course Reviews
A treat to get the opportunity to play Arabella and the experience is always one to remember. Great layout and a good mix of holes offering a variety of shot options. The course was in excellent condition and the greens as good as I have seen.
Lihan van der Merwe
13 April 2022
The course is in outstanding condition and thoroughly deserves to be in SA's top 10.
Keith Simpson
12 February 2022
View more reviews
Arabella has had a busy festive season, with both the resort hotel and golf course filled to capacity. Interesting to learn that the course was open for a limited number of golfers on Xmas Day. Could more courses do the same? Thanks to some rainy weather in December the course is looking exceptional, and it always presents a stunning visual treat, even more so following a successful bunker renovation programme in 2021. They do look magnificent and the white sand has particularly enhanced holes which needed more definition, such as the par-5 13th looking up towards the green. This is a key hole on the back nine in terms of the drive. A bold line off the tee over the edge of the water hazard sets up a birdie opportunity. The putting surfaces are deceptively quick and tricky to read. Local knowledge helps around the greens.
Stuart McLean
31 December 2021
Arabella is looking fantastic following 6 months of work: A mid-September intense hollow-tining, scarifying and verti-cutting. Reshaping the 11th with two visible and nicely defined new bunkers and "forcing" the hole into being an even tougher dogleg. Reshaping many bunkers and changing the sand in all 60. Rebuilding and improving the greenside bunkers on 8 & 17. Reshaping all the tee boxes into "circles," which look great. A new first cut of rough, now clearly defined and a classy addition to the course.
Neil Brown
28 October 2021
Arabella is in great condition and the management is continuously improving on an already magnificent facility. The visual change to the bunkers on the 11th frames the hole much better and the redoing of all the bunkers on the course adds to playing consistency and improves on the aesthetics.
LIHAN VAN DER MERWE
26 October 2021
Arabella is in prime condition and playing beautifully. Fairways and greens in great shape. The recent makeover of the bunkers is looking fantastic.
Lynam
21 October 2021
The Arabella course has been fantastically looked after and the changes have been excellent. The conditioning is fantastic and worthy of a top 5 layout.
Jacques van Wyk
18 October 2021
The perfect golf course. Friendly people all around.
Petra
18 October 2021
The Memorability of all the holes is just one of the amazing features of Arabella.
Mike Taitz
18 October 2021
Arabella is looking magnificent. The golf course has benefited from a significant bunker upgrade during the winter months under greenkeeper Derick Bolton who has served Arabella so loyally since it opened 22 years ago. New sand in all 72 bunkers, and some elegant reshaping, has noticeably boosted the already attractive Aesthetics of the resort layout. The dazzling white bunker faces give many holes extra definition and sparkle viewing from the tee box, notably on the uphill tenth. The 11th has two prominent new bunkers on the right of the fairway which vastly improve the profile of a good par 4 that previously had a weak outlook from the tee. The greens are simply outstanding. And I welcome the construction of a simple starter's hut at the first hole. An essential requirement for a resort facility, being both an attractive feature and shelter for the starter.
Stuart McLean
20 August 2021
Always a treat to play a great layout that is exceptionally well conditioned. Arabella has stunning design variety and a high memorability factor. The team there under Mike Munro have excelled.
David Frost
29 December 2020
A beautiful finish to each nine which leaves a lasting impression.
Keith Simpson
21 December 2020
Arabella has come of age this year, celebrating its 21st anniversary, and it continues to sparkle as one of our premier golf resorts. One of its most endearing features to me is the ease of access for golfers staying in the hotel, which is now part of the Tsogo Sun group. The clubhouse is on the ground floor, and the first tee a short walk away. It's a golf course with many strong holes, yet the playability of the layout is exactly what you want from a resort experience. Riding golf carts, our fourball went round all 18 holes in just under four hours, even with the occasional hunt for stray golf balls. The scenic finishing holes on each nine, each unique in their design, are stunning, and they elevate Arabella into a special category of golf course. Currently the conditioning is right up there with the best I've seen at Arabella, and the greens can only get better now that hollow-tining is over.
Stuart McLean
14 October 2020
The course looked wonderful with all the spring flowers. Recent hollow-tining of the greens didn't spoil the round. I was impressed with the bunkering changes on Nos 4, 10, 13, 15 and 18. Not just aesthetically appealing but making these holes more playable, especially the new bunkering left of the 18th green. Thanks to my playing partners, Albert, Enslin and Sneaky Pete, who made the afternoon more fun than I expected!
Brent Kleve
03 October 2020
Course in excellent condition, lots of attention to detail. Greens are brilliant, smooth, true and run at 10.5 on the stimp. Fairways are like carpets. A must play 🏌️😊 Well done Arabella .
Henry Trevena
07 August 2020
It is an absolute pleasure to play Arabella. It is often a windy course, making the length even more challenging. The greens, fringes and bunkers are as good as you will get in the Cape. There are several memorable holes; the par-5 eighth coming down a steep hill; the par-3 17th alongside the lagoon; and a great risk-reward finishing hole. I would wager Arabella has the best set of par-3s of any course west of Fancourt. On the downside, service is perennially poor, the bar expensive and limited.
Hamish Houston
20 March 2020

We played Arabella on a beautiful afternoon and the conditioning was superb. The presentation was world class, worthy of its Top 10 ranking. What's impressive is the variety of shot-making from the varied tees. Some of the tees were set back, making for long carries. From shorter tees it was still a challenge. Arabella holds firm in my personal Top 10. A credit to the crew at a stunning course!

Jon James
17 March 2020
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